Dealing with your Defiant Kid

I have a defiant, strong-willed son! I believe he even takes pride in challenging me. I love my little imp, but boy, he tries my patience!

I have been reading through The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family and have been using a number of the strategies for connecting with your adopted child.


  1. Respond to misbehavior immediately.
  2. Redirect to better choices.
  3. Practice getting it right with a do-over.
  4. Praise for improved behavior.

But sometimes, my son is stubborn and simply defies me. Chapter 7 discusses Dealing with Defiance!  Here are some of the strategies I’ve been using from this chapter:



  1. If your child challenges you, move closer and assert your authority while giving your child a chance for a do-over.
  2. Then say something like: “It is NOT okay for you to talk to me or your dad like that. You can be unhappy, but you MUST talk with respect! Now try that again, son.
  3. Many times I have to give my preschool boy a choice of talking nicely or a consequence. After a few moments, he usually turns around because he knows I mean business.
  4. Praise him for talking respectfully. “Good choice in talking nicely!

The Connected Child recommends: “Use the least amount of firmness and corrective effort needed to resolve a situation.

However, sometimes, these strategies may not work, and Chapter 7 of The Connected Child discusses dealing with defiance in more detail.


To avoid a total breakdown, sometimes, I have to stay aware of my son’s “meltdown potential.”

Sometimes if he might be hungry, I realize that he isn’t capable of pulling himself together – so my first task is to get his blood sugar back up – before I deal with his defiance.

After he’s calm, then we talk about his misbehavior and even sometimes, I give him the choice of what his consequence for misbehavior should be. Funny story: One time, he decided his punishment would be “no wii for 20 months”.  I told him that would be nearly two years until he could play wii again, so 2 days of no wii would be fine.

What strategies have you found effective in dealing with the defiant personality of your kid?